Customer Service Killed Your Sale

Customer ServiceThere is a gaping hole is most sales departments. It’s the disconnect between sales and customer service. Sales people are seen as the super stars, the money makers (rightfully so). Customer service representatives are seen as the folks who are there to deal with the headaches and trivial administrative stuff (wrongfully so). The problem with this thinking is that it’s hurting your sales.

Despite your sales finesse and ability to close a deal, customer service may thwart it at any point they come in contact with the customer. Case in point. A sales representative sold some enterprise software to a home-based business. The client had issues with the software installation so they called customer service for support. The support team failed miserably not only in product understanding, but also with the concerns at hand.

The client had to call twice. The first call, to India, was a dead end. This led the client to a decision to return the product, rather than take any extra effort to get it working. The second call was for a refund.

One might think that the customer service team would be trained to respond to a “refund request.” That is, there should be an escalation plan to save the sale. Or, at least, inquire as to why to gather intelligence. These things did not occur – and this was no small software organization.

The sale was lost. The money refunded.

In this case, the sale had two major issues. One – customer support failed, and the client lost confidence. Two – customer service failed, simply administering a refund. The trouble is that in far too many companies these two departments rarely communicate. They fail to see their deep dependence on one another.

As a sales professional, how would you help lead our organization to better ensure sales are not lost due to scenarios like the one above? How would you change the mindset of your company to show that Customer Service is intimately tied to sales? What strategies, training, and expectations would you put in place?

~ Theo/DH

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